MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – More than 400 Somali recruits were killed by Eritrean troops in several training camps, thousands of others were deployed to take part in Ethiopia’s conflict and many more have been thrown into forced labor, an escaped recruit has told local media on Monday.
Abdulkadir Abshir, who claims that he has escaped Eritrea, says he was taken to a training camp in the Horn of Africa nation in the early months of 2020 and completed training after six months, adding that he and his fellow recruits were forced to remain in the camp under harsh living conditions.
The recruits, who have been missing since 2019, have no sufficient access to medicine and food and many have died from diseases, according to Abdulqadir, who also reports clashes between the Somali military trainees and Eritreans that left dozens of unarmed recruits dead.
More than 5,400 young men had been taken to Eritrea for a military training, who were moved to three separate camps and most of them are held at facilities for “ransom” after the Somali federal government failed to pay expenses claimed by Eritreans for the food, drink and medicine costs, he added.
Somali government has not yet commented on the claims. Several other young men, who said they had escaped Eritrea, made similar assertions, which Somaliguardian has not been able to verify independently.
Army officials said weeks earlier that the soldiers would be returned home and it is not yet clear why the government is dragging its feet to bring the recruits back to their country more than two years after most of them had completed training.
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